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'The beauty of Siberia took me by surprise'

‘Rare photo of wild west outlaw Billy the Kid worth $5 million’ turns up in Siberia

By 0 and 0 and 0
09 July 2018


The picture has on it a second person, but for now Ivanov declines to reveal this other face. Picture: Alexei Ivanov

The collector from Yakutsk - who recently unearthed ‘the first picture of Rasputin - is claiming another coup. 

If proven, the find could be worth a considerable sum.

The only confirmed picture of Billy the Kid - an iconic ferrotype photograph dating to 1879 to 1880 - was bought at auction for $2.3 million in 2011. 

Many other images have been disputed, according to reports.  

Billy the Kid - born Henry McCarty in 1859 and later known as William H Bonney - was an orphan who became an outlaw and gunfighter.

Billy the Kid - new picture

He is convinced it is the really Billy and wants to sell them image to enable him to conduct other exciting searches. Picture: Alexei Ivanov

He was reputed to have killed eight men before he was shot dead at the age of 21.

Ivanov, an accomplished collector based in Yakutsk, the world’s coldest city, claims to have found a scoop after an 18 month hunt, yet he so far says little on how he found the treasure.

He says the image shows Billy  the Kid at a ‘young age’ but the date is not clear.

The picture has on it a second person, but for now Ivanov declines to reveal this other face. 

‘Billy stands, with one hand clasped to the shoulder of the second person, who is sitting on a chair, leaning his elbow on the table,’ he said. 

‘There is also one interesting detail, Billy hides his little finger from the photographer.’

Billy the Kid as a child

He has compared it to an image held by the University of Arizona Libraries. 

Ivanov said: 'Unfortunately, I can show only one part of the photo - an image of Billy Kid's face. 

‘But, there is also another person on the photo. 

‘I think that I have no right to demonstrate and show full photo at the moment.’

He is convinced it is the really Billy and wants to sell them image to enable him to conduct other exciting searches. 

‘I give this opportunity to the new owner of the photo,’ he said. 

‘I am going to sell this photo, what would allow me to realise my ideas and projects in the near future.’

He explained: ‘On the issue of sales I am ready to consider all options. My Facebook profile @lexvanov.’

He says his picture is the only one ‘where you can see all the features of his real and living face’.

He has compared it to an image held by the University of Arizona Libraries.

Wanted poster

Original wanted poster for Billy the Kid. 

'Billy has the characteristic features and lineament, it is impossible to confuse him with someone. He was not like anyone', he said.

Ivanov said: ’The cost of this tintype in case of sale can cost more than 5 million dollars.’

On his hunt for the image, he said: ‘I was always fascinated by the topic of history and rare materials, regardless of their type and binding to any country. 

‘One day I decided to challenge myself and start studying all the material about the period of the Wild West and the history of Billy the Kid. 

‘I do not know why this topic attracted me so much, but I set myself a goal - to find a picture of Billy the Kid.

‘And as you can see, I achieved the goal.’

Billy the Kid as a child

Upper tintype shows what historians believe is a photo of Billy the Kid, second from left, and Pat Garrett, far right, taken in 1880 via Frank Abrams.

He claimed the picture was found among ‘large archival material from the USA, bought through the Internet’. 

‘The search process was fascinating, because I retracted into the atmosphere of those times, people and the way of their life. 

‘The process of searching and analysing photos was made with emotional filtration, and of course, it was reflected on my condition. 

‘For example, there were few moments of complete apathy and fatigue during the search period. 

‘But there are also personal secrets that I am not yet ready to talk about. 

‘Now, I am ready and would like to take on a bigger jackpot, as well as for large-scale projects. 

‘Find large treasures or take part in excavations.’

Alexei Ivanov, an accomplished collector based in Yakutsk

Alexei Ivanov

Comments (24)

How do you know it’s Billy the kid when you never knew him?
Socorro County Rancher, Socorro
28/01/2019 17:49
I actually just found an unauthenticated photo of Billy the Kid on my iPhone 6. Going back aways for sure
Todd Hartman, Palm Beach County, FL
05/09/2018 09:50
Don Paddock: You're sure the one on the far left is the Kid but the experts say he is second from the left!
Wileyhemi, Montreal
05/09/2018 09:41
Its confirmed this is an actual picture or Billy and pat Garrett. Congrats to the lucky man who bought it for 10 dollars and sold for 5 million but yes he is on the far left I knew it as soon as I seen it .compare it yourself to the first confirmed picture of billy standing holding the rifle with the bent hat its him
Don paddock, Albany ny
14/08/2018 07:36
The article is a carnival of nonsense. Ivanov's photos is not Billy; the photo supposedly from the University of Arizona is not Billy; the wanted poster with the fake Billy photo is itself a fake (a fake squared); and the Frank Abrams tintype depicts neither Billy the Kid nor Pat Garrett. There is only one generally accepted as authentic image of Billy the Kid, the Dedrick tintype, which is not shown in the article, probably because it would throw cold water on the fake Billy photos. Cold water in Siberia is really cold. Dan
Daniel Buck, Washington, DC
24/07/2018 19:07
No, that's not me. Not even close.
Billy the Kid, USA
15/07/2018 04:27
Friends, have you seen the photo of El Paso County Historical Society?
I advise you to look at him:
Alexei Ivanov, Russia
14/07/2018 22:42
This isn't the Kid. This happens every few years...a person finds an old tintype or photograph at a yard sale or flea market and claims it's the Billy the Kid. It's impossible to verify, as everybody that ever knew him is dead. The only photograph that is certifiably legitimate is the ferrotype that was owned by Dan Dedrick, a personal friend of Bonney's, that was handed down through the Dedrick family throughout the decades. That ferrotype was seen and verified to be real by many people that actually knew the kid. Also, the wanted poster in the article IS NOT REAL. No Billy the Kid wanted posters EVER displayed his likeness or a picture, and the only one that I am aware to be real is the text only 'poster' issued by Governor Lew Wallace. Somebody needs to do their research.
Scott B, Los Angeles, USA
13/07/2018 05:12
A few weeks ago Alex Ivanov contacted me claiming to have found a photo of Billy the Kid. Being aware of my work in photo authentication he, asked me to conduct an analysis.

He made the unique suggestion that the only confirmed photo of Billy the Kid, which sold for $2.3M in 2011, was taken when Billy the Kid was dead and his face consequently distorted. He suggested that instead I should compare his photo with the one in the University of Arizona Libraries (shown in this article).

After preliminary analysis I told Alex Ivanov on 6 July that his photograph matched neither the confirmed photograph of Billy the Kid, nor the purported Arizona one. His response was that he is going to contact another specialist.

The main difference is that the ears in all three photographs are a different shape and the libraries photo has a thinner top lip, too significant to be due to age, proving that Alex Ivanov’s photograph is not Billy the Kid.
Mark Bampton, Bedford UK
11/07/2018 18:44

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